Simple DIY Card Sorting Activity

This DIY card sorting task is a great way to curb boredom in long term care, and is so simple to make, that you’ll be kicking yourself for not thinking of it sooner!

Supplies Needed:

Deck of cards

Sheet of paper

Coloured printer


Laminating sheet

Step One: Use an internet search engine, and search for “card suits”. (The first image that shows up will most likely look something like this)

Step Two: Right click on image, and either ‘copy and paste’ to a program such as publisher to make adjustments before printing, OR you may be able to simply right click, and select “print.”

Step Three: Put the sheet of paper in a laminating pouch, and send through the laminator.

*Laminating will extend the life of your sorting task, as well as allow you to sanitize it easily, and regularly.

It’s as easy as that! ….In those 3 easy steps, you will have completed your new sorting task.

Ways to use this task:

You can ask the resident to help you sort the cards by suit to start, making four separate piles on top of the corresponding suit .

I usually approach the resident and let them know that I want to make sure I’m not missing any cards from the deck, and that organizing them by suit first, will help me to do this.

If the resident is able to sort them by suit, with little challenge, I will ask them to rearrange each pile from Ace to King. I let them know that doing so will make it easier to see which cards are missing, if any.

If this task seems to be causing too much of a challenge, you can suggest that they count out the number of cards in each pile instead.

If the resident is able to sort the cards by suit, and then arrange them in order, confirming that all of the cards are there, I will then ask them if they would mind shuffling the deck, to mix them all back together so that the deck is ready for the next time we need to use it.

You may offer this task to a resident who ends up being unable to properly sort them…in my experience, the resident will often still enjoy handling the cards, and making assorted piles with them, then shuffling them back together.

This activity also provides an alternate approach to reaching male residents who do not enjoy tasks that they feel are geared more toward the female residents, such as folding laundry. Their generation tended to have stronger gender roles when it came to household chores, and this may deter some male residents from participating in certain activities, unfortunately.

With that in mind, offering a task that involves playing cards may feel slightly more unisex to some residents.

Once you have set a resident up with this card sorting task, it may be a good opportunity for you to sit down with them, and ask questions about the types of card games they used to enjoy playing, who they played with, how old they were when they first learned how to play, and who taught them.


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